A glimpse of Greece

Friday, August 10th, 2007 | All Things, NYC History

At Athens Square in Astoria, Queens:

Athens Square

In 1839, Stephen Halsey renamed the area then known as Hallet’s Cove for fellow fur-trader John Jacob Astor, the first millionaire in the United States, in an effort to persuade him to become the village’s patron. (Astor, however, invested just $500 in the community – in the form of an endowment to the Astoria Female Seminary.)

Astoria has long been known for its Greek population — the largest in New York City, and it’s been said, the largest outside of Greece. The .9 acre Athens Square on 30th Avenue between 29th and 30th Streets opened in 1971, during the height of Greek immigration, and underwent an extensive $1 million renovation in 1993.

The mayor of Athens presented Astoria with this replica of the Piraeus Athena (c. 350 B.C.), the goddess of wisdom and protectress of Athens, as a gift on March 28, 1998.

Athens Square

The three Doric granite columns in the sunken amphitheater were erected in a composition echoing that of the Tholos temple of Athena Pronaia in Delphi, 100 miles northwest of Athens.

Athens Square

Socrates sculpture, “gesturing as if engaged in dialogue” — the origin of “explaining hands,” perhaps?:

Athens Square

The Greek-looking font on the pedestals – similar to the one on the Anthora coffee cups – is probably about as Greek as the “Wonton” font is Chinese.

Rewind: Catching up on a couple of July eats

There's 1 comment so far ... A glimpse of Greece

August 21, 2007

It’s all Greek to me.

Go for it ...